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Public Statements

Unleashing Opportunities

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. SCOTT. It is indeed a humbling honor to serve the great people of South Carolina in the Senate. I am so grateful for the support I have received from South Carolinians.

The success of the Palmetto State can be measured in many ways, but today, let me share the success of our economic engine. From insourcing jobs from other countries, jobs such as Otis Elevators in Florence, SC, or the high-tech boom that is happening throughout South Carolina, companies such as BMW in the upstate continue to expand. Michelin, in Anderson County expands. Continental Tires finds a home in Sumter, SC, and there are more than 5,000 new jobs on the coast of South Carolina because of Boeing. And let's not forget Aiken, SC, where Bridgestone has made a new home. South Carolina is and will continue to be a leading manufacturing engine for America.

I stand before you today on the shoulders of two very amazing Americans. One has gone home to be with the Lord. The other is my hero, my mother, Frances Scott.

Growing up in a single-parent household, my mother would have to work sometimes 16-hour days in order to keep me and my brother off of welfare. She wanted us to have a good example of someone who believed in hard work for us to follow.

My mother used to tell me all the time that if you shoot for the Moon and you miss, you will be among the stars. But I didn't always listen to my mother. By the time I was a freshman in high school, I was drifting. Have you ever noticed that you don't really drift in the right direction? As a freshman in high school, I failed out. I failed world geography. I think I am the only U.S. Senator to fail civics. I also failed Spanish and English.

When you fail Spanish and English, they don't call you bilingual. They call you bi-ignorant because you can't speak in any language.

That's where I found myself. I found myself in a very strong and hard position, but good fortune strikes. I had two blessings. One was a mother who believes that sometimes love has to come at the end of the switch. For those of you who are not aware of what a switch is, it is a motivational apparatus, and it encouraged me a lot. I will say that, along with my mentor John Moniz, who came along at the right time--I was a sophomore--I found my way back on the path. John Moniz was a Chick-fil-A operator who made such a major impact in my life over the last three decades.

John came along as I was a sophomore in high school, and he taught me some very, very valuable lessons. A couple of those lessons John started teaching me very early on were about being a business owner. John believed that you could literally think your way out of poverty.

You didn't have to be an entertainer or an athlete, but you could become an entrepreneur. So John started teaching me some of the lessons of being a business owner. He said having a job is a good thing, but creating jobs is even better.

John would teach me later that in earning an income, you have done well. But if you can learn to create a profit, you have done fantastically. He taught me some other lessons about individual responsibility. John once told me: If you don't like where you are, look in the mirror. Blame yourself. John was trying to teach me some very valuable lessons about individual responsibility.

I learned very quickly from John that if you were a part of the problem, you were also part of the promise; that in fact if you saw yourself as a part of your obstacle, you may have found the key ingredient to your opportunities. It took a little time before the lessons of my mentor and the strong discipline of my mother started to germinate in my soul, but it finally did.

After 4 years of having John as my mentor, something very tragic happened. At the young age of 38, John suddenly passed away. I remember the day before his funeral as though it were yesterday. I sat down and wrote out my mission statement: to positively impact the lives of a billion people with the message of hope and opportunity--hope being my faith in Christ Jesus and opportunity being the lessons of financial literacy and financial independence I learned from my mentor John Moniz.

I decided to follow in the footsteps of my mentor John. I started my own business, and I learned very quickly the challenges of signing the front of the paycheck when you could not sign the back for yourself. Over the last two decades, as a business owner and as an elected official--whether it was as a member of the county council or a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives or being elected to the U.S. Congress--I have used as my foundation the lessons I learned from my mentor and my mother.

During my time here in the Senate I will focus on a few key issues, including education, economic empowerment, and controlling our spending addiction. As a small business owner over the last 15 years I can tell you firsthand that our Tax Code is broken. With the highest corporate tax rate in all the world, and the taxing of small and family-owned businesses at an alarming rate, we will continue to produce a slow-growth economy.

The regulatory nightmare facing our small business owners today is only worsened by the ``Unaffordable Care Act,'' as my good friend Congressman Kucinich said yesterday.

Further, with over 70,000 pages of new regulations in the last 5 years, the compliance cost for small business is staggering. We do not simply need a delay in the employer mandate, we need a repeal of the employer mandate.

On education, I can tell you as a poor kid, by the time I was in the fourth grade, I had already attended four schools. It is very difficult for us to fund the right school with the sometimes transient nature of poverty where you have to move a lot. I believe the system and the people closest to the child are in the best position to provide the highest quality of education for that child. So there is no way a bureaucrat in Washington, DC, can better educate a child in Lexington County than that child's parents and the teachers who are so involved in that education.

We need a national debate on education. Parents need more choices so their kids will have a chance. So let's debate it. Let's debate charter schools, let's debate public school choice, private school choice, tax credits, home schools. Whatever it takes to improve our education system should be on the table for discussion.

Let me close with this. If we create a competitive Tax Code and a fair, sensible regulatory environment, as well as a world-class education system, we will create the best economy known to man, as we have in times past. You see, the best and the brightest days are still ahead for America. Our strongest moments, our strongest stands, are still in our future. I believe in the greatness of America because I have experienced the goodness of her people. In America, an ordinary guy like me can be blessed with an extraordinary opportunity like this. Thank you, and God bless America.

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Mr. SCOTT. I thank the Leader.

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Mr. SCOTT. I thank my colleague.

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Mr. SCOTT. I thank the Senator.

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